Research areas addressed by CASBBI members — such as chronic pain, substance misuse and addiction, and mobility impairments — have major public health and societal significance. Our goal is to develop improved interventions and outcomes for these conditions.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a critical public health problem. At CASBBI, we are bridging engineering, neuroscience, and rehabilitation to understand contributors to chronic musculoskeletal pain and develop effective non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Chronic neck and low back pain syndromes are complex and poorly understood, often lacking a clear etiology. These soft tissue pain syndromes often involve interactions between the musculoskeletal, circulatory, and nervous systems at multiple levels, as well as involving psychosocial factors. The lack of adequate quantitative methods for characterizing the relevant systems involved in these complex disorders is a critical barrier to clinical diagnosis, systematic studies of the underlying mechanisms, and development of effective treatments for these widely prevalent conditions.

At CASBBI, NIH-funded research has pioneered the use of ultrasound imaging and elastography to objectively characterize muscle tissue properties and vascular remodeling in chronic neck pain, before and after dry needle perturbation. Our collaborative group also pioneered the use of microdialysis to describe the biochemical milieu of muscle in myofascial pain. The long-term goal of our research program is to understand the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of myofascial pain, and develop effective therapeutic interventions. Our highly interdisciplinary research team combines expertise in imaging, rehabilitation, physiatry, neuroscience, biomechanics, and proteomics.

Representative Publications:

» Novel Use of Ultrasound Elastography to Quantify Muscle Tissue Changes After Dry Needling of Myofascial Trigger Points in Patients With Chronic Myofascial Pain
Turo D., Otto P., Hossain M., et al. (2015). Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine.

» Dry Needling Alters Trigger Points in the Upper Trapezius Muscle and Reduces Pain in Subjects With Chronic Myofascial Pain
Gerber L.H., Shah J., Rosenberger W., et al. (2015). PM&R, 7(7):711-718. PMCID: PMC4508220

» Ultrasonic Characterization of the Upper Trapezius Muscle in Patients With Chronic Neck Pain
Turo D., Otto P., Shah J.P., et al. (2013). Ultrasonic Imaging, 35(2):173-187. PMCID: PMC3576467

» Office-Based Elastographic Technique for Quantifying Mechanical Properties of Skeletal Muscle
Ballyns J.J., Turo D., Otto P., et al. (2012). Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, 31(8):1209-1219. PMCID: PMC3493148

» Objective Sonographic Measures for Characterizing Myofascial Trigger Points Associated With Cervical Pain
Ballyns J.J., Shah J.P., Hammond J., Gebreab T., Gerber L.H., Sikdar S. (2011). Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, 30(10):1331-1340. PMCID:PMC3493620

» Novel Applications of Ultrasound Technology to Visualize and Characterize Myofascial Trigger Points and Surrounding Soft Tissue
Sikdar S., Shah J.P., Gebreab T., et al. (2009). Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 90(11):1829-1838. PMCID: PMC2774893

Related News:


Addictive behaviors (including substance use problems, disordered eating behaviors, and other compulsive behaviors) have significant negative consequences for the individual and society.  At CASBBI, we are bridging psychology, neuroscience, social science, and engineering to understand addictive behaviors, develop clinical interventions, and empower communities of recovery using technology.

Like many health problems, addictive behaviors are rooted in dysfunction in biopsychosocial systems. Addiction is a complex and dynamic phenomenon with causes operating at multiple spatial and temporal scales, and cycles of wellness and relapse. Understanding the interconnections among addictive behaviors, social/environmental factors, genetics, and brain networks will provide new analytic tools for the study of the mechanisms of addiction and suggest new strategies for treatment.

At CASBBI, our NIH-funded program of research is investigating the role of emotion- and reward-related brain function in the development and prevention of substance use in adolescence, using fMRI and ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Another collaborative project is investigating the use of technology to empower communities of recovery around individuals with substance use disorders to achieve measurable improvements in long-term health and wellness.

Representative Publications

» Associations Between Parent Emotional Arousal and Regulation and Adolescents’ Affective Brain Response
Turpyn, C.C., Poon, J.A., Ross, C.E., Thompson, J.C., Chaplin, T.M. (in press). Social Development.

» Prenatal Cocaine Exposure Differentially Affects Stress Responses in Girls and Boys: Associations With Future Substance Use
Chaplin, T.M., Visconti, K.J., Molfese, P., Susman, E., Klein, L.C., Sinha, R., Mayes, L.C. (2015). Development and Psychopathology, 27,163-180.

» Gender Differences in Emotion Expression in Children: A Meta-Analytic Review
Chaplin, T.M. & Aldao, A. (2013). Psychological Bulletin, 139, 735-765.

» Parent-Adolescent Conflict Interactions and Adolescent Alcohol Use
Chaplin, T.M., Sinha, R., Simmons, J., Healy, S., Mayes, L.C., Hommer, R.E., Crowley, M.J. (2012). Addictive Behaviors, 37, 605-612. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.01.004.

» Stress Reactivity and Corticolimbic Response to Emotional Faces in Adolescents
*Liu, J., *Chaplin, T.M., Wang, F., Sinha, R., Mayes, L.C., Blumberg, H.P. (2012). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 51, 304–312.
(* The first two authors contributed equally to the manuscript.)

» The Role of Emotion Regulation in the Development of Psychopathology
Chaplin, T.M., Cole, P.M. (2005). In B.L. Hankin, & J.R.Z. Abela (Eds.), Development of Psychopathology: A Vulnerability-Stress Perspective (pp. 49-74). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Related News

Mobility Impairments

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans currently live with a physical disability that affects their activities of daily living. At CASBBI, we are bridging neuroscience, engineering, and rehabilitation to understand and improve function in individuals living with mobility impairments.

Human movement is dependent on perception-action interactions. These interactions are constantly updated in response to experience, a process known as sensory-motor adaptation. Sensory-motor adaptation is critical for functioning successfully in one’s environment.

At CASBBI, we are collaborating with the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital and the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center to investigate mechanisms of motor recovery following stroke and amputation, and developing novel assistive technologies, including dexterous prosthetic control systems for amputees and novel lightweight exoskeleton systems for subjects with spinal cord injuries.

Representative Publications:
» Real-Time Classification of Hand Motions Using Ultrasound Imaging of Forearm Muscles
Akhlaghi N., Baker C.A., Lahlou M., et al. (2016). IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 63(8):1687-98.

» Novel Method for Predicting Dexterous Individual Finger Movements By Imaging Muscle Activity Using a Wearable Ultrasonic System
Sikdar S., Rangwala H., Eastlake E., et al. (2014). IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 22(1):69-76.

Related News